Runner rape reported, police give safety tips

09/30/2010 - 15:20

A Birmingham, Alabama runner was reportedly raped in September and a second female runner was approached but ran away before she could be harmed, authorities said. Both incidents were reported to have occurred between 6:30-7 a.m. The Birmingham Track Club quickly issued a warning to its members to not run alone.

Police issued the following suggestions on protecting yourself:
-- Carry items that can call attention to you if needed (such as whistles and personal alarms).
-- Consider taking a self-defense class, which can give you self-confidence and provide useful skills and strategies for different situations.
-- Do not hitchhike. If your vehicle breaks down and someone offers to give you a ride, ask the person to call for help while you stay locked in your vehicle.
-- If someone tries to assault you, scream loudly or blow a whistle.
-- If you are walking or jogging, stay out of secluded or isolated areas and arrange to do the activity with at least one other friend, rather than alone. It is best to do these kinds of activities during daylight hours.
-- Keep car doors locked while driving, check the back of your car for intruders before getting in, and park in open, well-lit areas.
-- Keep doors and windows locked.
-- On public transportation, sit near the driver or up front if possible. Avoid sitting near groups of young men who are obviously with one another.
When out by yourself:
-- Avoid becoming isolated with people you do not know or do not trust.
-- Be aware of where you are and what is around you. Do not cover both of your ears with music headphones.
-- Keep your cell phone charged and with you.
-- Stay away from deserted areas.
-- Try to appear strong, confident, aware, and secure in your surroundings.

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